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Picture This

picture this

by reynold d. philipsek

For the past two years (while I was engaged with the filming and distribution of the “A Life Well Played” documentary), I was also busy putting together an album of what I could accurately call a true distillation of my musical oeuvre.

This entailed not only the development of new pieces, but the remodeling of older music that could benefit from a new approach.

This is that album. It has become clear to me that my personal taste is defined not only by my idiosyncrasies and melodic and harmonic predilections, but my desire for concision based on brevity and clarity. I am, I suppose, a sort of minimalist which probably explains my admiration for Anton Webern. The melodic and harmonic side of my nature is influenced by Ravel and Monk. This may not be readily apparent but it is, none the less, the case.

The liner note on the CD sleeve gives a fuller description of the overall concept.

As I have said before, “I have suffered for this music; now it’s your turn.”

Reynold (summer of 2017)

Finding Django

Django
By reynold d. philipsek

I was busy whispering a detailed explanation of Schopenhauer’s Philosophy of the “Will” into the eager ear of a young lady in the backseat of my 56′ Ford when it happened. Believe me, it took quite a jolt to disengage my attention at that exact moment. After all, I was only 18 years old and my red corpuscles were pounding out four to a bar like Gene Krupa in overdrive. But even through the steamed-up windows it was clear to see. I was in love.

“What is that?” I shrieked as I jumped into the front seat and turned up the volume of the car radio. “Who is that guitar player? I love it.”

When the song ended the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) announcer proclaimed it was Jango Rinehart. I searched through the glove box to find a pen or pencil to jot down the name.

The very next day I piloted my Ford 70 miles due south to a section of Minneapolis known as Dinky Town to rummage through the record bins.

An indolent clerk peered up from his intense perusal of a catalog displaying every model and type of hookah known to civilization just long enough to correct me on the name with a condescending sneer. “The name is spelled like this,” he said, as he scrawled Django Reinhardt onto a coffee-stained napkin.

Armed with several Django records, I began my study of his fretwork. The music was a bit old-timey for my taste at that time and songs like “The Sheik of Araby” didn’t exactly turn my crank but the guitar playing was unlike anything I had ever heard.

There are watershed moments in every life and this was one for me. To say Django influenced my music would be complete understatement. I still listen to him daily and play his music every week. All these years later, I can’t even remember the girl’s name.

Special Thanks and New Album Update

The June 25 documentary screening/concert was very successful and well attended.

I thank all those who came out. I also want to thank the musicians Matt Senjem, Michael Bissonnette, Gregg Inhofer and Gary Schulte.

Now I will turn my attention to enjoying the summer and putting the finishing touches on the new album I have been assembling for the past two years. The tracks for the new project are, of course, all original. A few of the tunes have appeared before but are presented in new guises.

The concept of the recording goes back to my first years as a musician. At age 14 my mother gave me a reel to reel recorder that could record “sound on sound.” This meant I could overdub one guitar track over another. This is how I learned to assemble music and write songs.

All of the songs on the new record started this way but in many cases I added other instruments beyond the two guitars that are the basis of each piece. The musicians who guest on this upcoming album are Matt Senjem on bass, Gregg Inhofer on piano and synth, Michael Bissonnette on percussion and Denny Malmberg on accordion. Other pieces remain as a two guitar or multi-guitar track.

The songs (as of now) are Bohemian Flats, Chrysanthemum, Tango Blue, Vienna Blues, Kiki, Rara Avis, 1965, Gotham, Goatee and Shades, Matka, Silesian Mist and Pavane.

I think it should be ready by late September. I will keep you posted here.

A Life Well Played Screening & Playlist: UPDATE

As of now, this is the projected song list. The theater does have a Steinway, so Gregg will play that instrument. A nice plus of playing at this hall.

The set list is mainly my own music. I do include Nuages, by Django Reinhardt just because he is so essential to my history and I am identified as one of his many descendants. My Girl is included because it was in my first set list at 12 years old and I still have followers who like to hear me sing a couple of songs.

Bohemian Flats and Chrysanthemum are new pieces of mine which will be played for the first time live.

As I said before, Matt and Michael have been my main partners for years. Gregg and I have been friends for longer than Matt has been alive, and Gregg and I have played on many recordings together. This show however will be the first time Gregg and I play a live gig together.

The Set for June 25th, 2017:
1) Through Rose Colored Glasses (solo guitar)
2) Butterfly (trio start here)
3) Beatnik Pie
4) July (vocal)
5) Nuages
6) East Side
7) Sans Souci
8) Astoria
9) Mary
10) Silesian Mist
11) Rococo (quartet Gregg start)
12) Chrysanthemum
13) Bohemian Flats
14) Up Town
15) My Girl (vocal)

Hope you’ll stop by and enjoy the show and live music. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, you can click here.

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